Book of Biala Podlaska
(Biała Podlaska, Poland)

50°02' / 23°08'

Translation of
Sefer Biala Podlaska

Edited by: M. J. Feigenbaum

Published in Tel Aviv, 1961




Project Coordinator

Max Wald


This is a translation from: Sefer Biala Podlaska, Book of Biala Podlaska,
ed. M. J. Feigenbaum, Tel Aviv: Kupat Gmilut Hesed of the Community of Biala Podlaska, 1961 (Pages 501 H,Y)

Note: The original book can be seen online at the NY Public Library site: Biala Podlaska (1961)

Purchase details for a printed copy of this book can be found at

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By Marc Zell

Sefer Biala Podlaska, the Yizkor Memorial Book for the town of Biala Podlaska and vicinity, was the result of the combined efforts of many individual Bialans and others following World War II, culminating in the publication of the volume in 1961. But this extraordinary tome would never have been created without the singular contribution of its editor, Moshe Yosef Feigenbaum (1908 - 1986). Before the War, M.Y. Feigenbaum was a bookkeeper in Biala. When the Nazis invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, he was a conscript in the Polish cavalry which was no match for the Teutonic horde. He returned to his native Biala after Poland was decimated. He survived the Holocaust in Biala and nearby Mezritch, after losing his wife and two-year old daughter, and most of family, to the Nazi murderers.

From his hiding places in Biala he chronicled the fate of his family and his birthplace on scraps of toilet paper. After the War he published his personal history in two volumes on of which has been translated into English and appears on this Portal: “Podlasie in Umkum” (“The Extermination of Podlasie -- 1942 - 1944”)[Munich, 1948] and “Podlasie in Nazi Klem” (Podlasie in Nazi Chains -- 1939 -1941 (Buenos Aires, 1953). This two-volume memoire served as the foundation for Sefer Biala Podlaska now presented here in English translation.

After the liberation, Feigenbaum along with a handful of Jewish survivors collected documentation and other evidence which was used by the Soviet Army to prosecute and punish Nazi war criminals responsible for the destruction of Jewish Podlasie. Leaving Poland for the West, Feigenbaum was one the members of a small but distinguished group located in Munich that worked to collect materials to document the Shoah. Their efforts formed the basis of the archives that are now housed at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. We owe an enormous debt to Moshe Yosef Feigenbaum for his prodigious work in perpetuating the history of Biala Podlaska and its surrounding towns and villages; and in creating the basis for documenting the Holocaust for generations to come. May his work and memory be a blessing forever.


TOC translated by Yocheved Klausner

Title Author Page
Foreword [H] The editors 3
Foreword The editors 5
The Jews in Biala: Tracing their History to the Middle of Nineteenth Century [H] Dr. M. Handel 9
Jewish Biala During the Last Generation [H] M. Y. Fiegenboim 30
Total Destruction [H] M. Y. Fiegenboim 47
The Zionist Organization [H] M. Bruhel 77
The book M. Y. Feigenbaum 87
Biala M.Y. Feignbaum 89
Jews in Biale Dr M. Hendl 95
Jewish Biale in Recent Generations M.Y. Feigenbaum 125
The Economic Life
   A. Trade until World War 1;
   B. Forerunner Of The Banks
M. R. 149
Jewish Income M. Y. Feigenbaum 151
Trade Gedalyahu Braverman 157
   A. Factories;
   B. Printing
M. Y. Feigenboim 159
The Biale Estate Alter Vineberg 162
The Professional [Workers] Movement Yisroel Hochman 168
The Artisans Union B. Winograd 170
The Retailers Union Shmuel Kahan 171
Credit Cooperation
   a. a. Until the First World War
A. Wajs 172
   b. In Liberated Poland M. Y. Feigenbaum 174
Workers Consumer Cooperative Einikeit W. Szuster 177
Cooperative Mechanical Bakery M. Y. F–M 178
The Interest-Free Loan Fund at the Small Businessmen's Union   178
The Zionist Organization M. Bruchl 179
Hashomer Hatza'ir   192
The Revisionist Organization Jacob Bernstein 198
The Mizrachi M. Bravermann, A. Brandweinman, Y. Beitl 199
Poalei Zion Left Avraham Lavi 202
The National Funds   204
The “Bund”
   a. From the start to 1918
Gedaliahu Braverman 206
   b. Between Both World Wars V. Schuster 215
The Rise of “Agudat Yisrael” Moshe Braverman 219
The Communist Movement Gottl Biederman 220
An Anarchistic Group in Biale Gedalyahu Braverman 222
The Cultural Life
General Overview M. Y. Feigenboim 224
The “Yavne” School M. Raboun 230
Nachman Schiwak's Private Elementary School   233
Evening Courses to learn Polish Gedalyahu Braverman 234
An Attempt at Culture M. Rabon 234
The “Tarbut” Library M.Y. Feigenboim 235
The Bundist Library Gedalyahu Braverman 236
The Library of the Left Leaning Po'alei Tzion A. Labi 237
Maccabi Nachman Vineberg 238
The Press Chaim Rozmarin 241
Dramatic Circles Gedalyahu Braverman 243
The Dramatic Circle of “Bet–Am” M. Y. Feigenboim 245
Purim Plays at the end of the 19th Century Gedalyahu Braverman 247
The Religious Life
General Overview M. Y. Feigenbaum 248
The Talmud Torah   253
Houses of Prayer
The synagogue, The Beith Hamidrash, The Additional Beith Hamidrash, The Beith Hamidrash Of Volia
M. Y. Feignbaum 254
Prayer Houses of Chassidim and the opponents of Chassidism Fyvl Gold 258
Cantors Feivel Gold 261
The Rebbe's Court Asher Hoffer 264
Rabbis and Rebbes in Biala Meir Edelbaum 266
A Portrait of Rabbi Shmuel Aryeh Leib, a Holy Person,
of Blessed Memory, the Rabbi of Biale
Shmuel T. Halevi Rubinshtein 274
The Rabbi Reb Tzvi Hirshhorn   279
Rebbe Berish Landau   280
Rebbe Ahron Landau   282
Our master and Teacher Rabbi Yitzchak Ya'acov Rabinowicz   283
The Khevra Kadishe   284
The Cemeteries   284
Hassidic Biala in Literature
Between Two Mountains Y. L. Peretz 286
The Silent Man From Wurk Y. Opatoshu 292
Poland Y. Y. Trunk 294
Biala's “Yard” A. Litwin 299
Social Institutions
The Hospital M. Y. F – M 301
In the Health Service for the Welfare of the Population Alter Wajnberg and Asher Hoper 304
Achiezer Moshe Braverman 305
The Children's Home   308
TOZ Baruch Vinograd 310
The Moyshev–Skeynim M. Y. F – M 313
Women's Aid Committee   314
Other Voluntary Institutions in the City M. Y. F – M 315
Personalities, Figures and Types
Political activists   317
Apollinaire Heartglass Yitzhak Grinboim  
Apollinaire Heartglass, Moshe Rubinstein, Joshua Fisher M. Y. Feigenboim  
Moshe Smolyor Jacob Aaron Rosenboim  
Baruch Weinberg    
Yeshayahu Weinberg    
Elie Shimsheles (Elijahu Yustman), David Kruses (Goldfarb) Gdaliahu Braverman  
Elie Bobkes (Elijahu Hoffman), Tankhum Freind P. Gold  
Hirsh Richter (Lazar the Carpenter)    
Rabbi David Pizich Elijahu Mazor  
Religious Persons and Figures   334
Rabbi Dovid'l Karliner Dr. Shmuel Elyashiv  
Bialer Yichus (pedigree, O.A.), “The Hoseh” (The Prophet), Rabbi Noah (The Giant of Biala), Rabbi Moshe Cohen, Rabbi Moshe Moses (The Great), Rabbi Moshe Shahor (the Little), Rabbi Shimele Kreidshtein (the “Skoreyi”) Pavel Gold  
Rabbi Velvel Moses    
The Rabbi Shmuel Tanhum Levi Rubinstein    
Rabbi Shmuel Jacob Rubinstein Shmuel Tanhum HaLevi Rubinstein  
Portraits   342
Yakov Steinman, Menachem Mendel Gelenberg, Moshe Kave, Idel Schwartz, Alter Zukerman, Hershel Zak, Haim Mustovitch (The Kobryner), Benjamin Konolstein, Yakov Virnik, Hershel Nuchovitz, Dr. David Cohen, Dr. Butche Finkelstein, Dr. Nathan Tsigelnick, Shimon Goldsmith M. Y. Feigenbaum  
Social Workers, Writers and Personalities  
Ya'akov Kahan Yosef Zide 358
Aharon Beckerman Y. Papiernikov 359
Yossel Birshtein, Yitzhak Perlov Melech Ravitch 359
Ya'akov Cohen   361
Ya'akov Falatitzky   362
Yosef Zide Yakov Kahan 363
Advocate Avraham Yitzchak Gottlieb Zalman Gottlieb 364
Fyvel Friedman F. Gold 364
Bernard Lieberman Arthur Lederman 365
Dr. Yehuda Leib Davidson Yosef Babitsh Prozshani 365
Fritz Kornberg Moshe Ravon 366
Women Characters   369
Tille Berlin Yitzchak Shein 369
Rivkah Akivaches, Pesl the “Deaf”, Esther the “Lizard” B. Wineberg 370
Godya Shteinman Dina Arbitman 373
Chavale Rodzinek M. Y. Feigenboim 374
Types   375
Moshe Tuvia the carpenter B. Vineberg  
Shmerele Becker (Hochman) Gedalyahu Braverman  
Leibe Mednik (Reb Yehuda Leib Bornshtein) Ya'akov ben Yechezkel  
Abik Ogrodnik (Abush Rozenblum), Mordche'le Weintraub Berel Fakman  
Boruch Sholem the Teacher (Krideshtein), Motl Domatshever, Shualke Cohen, Yossel Vetshik (Gotfried), Pesach Skos, Moshe Bass, Alter Nemirover, Yitzchak Urtsheles, Meir Tallitmacher [lit. prayer shawls maker], Idl Tzinnes (Kanalshtein), Chaim Chaveles, Moshe Bukkes (Puterman), Yos Drozshkarzsh (Gerrman) F. Gold  
F o l k l o r e
Words, Aphorisms, and Jokes by Biale's Sharp Minds and Fun Lovers; Surnames according to towns of origin, Grandmothers and Grandfathers and occupations; Mocking Surnames and Nicknames; Customs and Charms; Clothes and Fashions of 80 years ago M. Y.Feigenboim 384
Tales and Legends
“Stoyontse” The “Upright” Burial   388
Without Success   388
The Dead Man M.Y. Feigenboim 389
The Muddy Neighbourhood F. Gold 390
Stories M.Y. Feigenboim 390
In the town they used to narrate the following legends F. Gold & G. Braverman 392
The “Hero” from Biale A. Litvin 392
A Blood Libel M.Y. Feigenboim 394
Destruction and Annihilation M.Y. Fajgenbaum 399
Survivors Tales
The Beginning of the End Berish Asenhaltz 445
   A. In the Miedzyrzec Ghetto;
   B. In a Bunker in the Center of Miedzyrzec
R. Bachrach 446
Leaving Home A Bialer 460
Some Memories Leon Fokman 461
In Liberated Biala M. Y. Fiegenboim 464
Bialer in the World
In Israel M.Y. Feigenboim 470
In North America    
   A. New York   472
   B. Los Angeles David Gordon 477
In Argentina Yakov Aranovitch 478
In France   481
In Canada Noakh Bresker 481
In Australia Hershel Orlanski 483
Our Compatriot, Yakov Wirnik a Witness at the Eichmann Trial in Jerusalem   484
Index of names and places   485


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